Typhonian Ordo Templi Orientis Kenneth Grant and the O.T.O.

Kenneth Grant and the
Typhonian Ordo Templi Orientis

by Peter-Robert Koenig, 1991
Edited and with annotations by James M. Martin

I happen to believe that Kenneth Grant, Outer Head of the Order of the so-called "Typhonian O.T.O.", has as much authority as anyone to make that claim. In order to demonstrate the truth of this assertion, I must provide you, the reader, with a short history lesson, which follows, set forth in more or less chronological order. Our story begins in 1942, March the 14th to be exact, when Crowley wrote to Karl Germer: "I shall appoint you my successor as O.H.O. but on special terms. It is quite clear to me that a complete change in the structure of the Order, and in its methods is necessary. The Secret is the basis, and you must select the proper people." (1*) Crowley called Kenneth Grant "a definite gift from the Gods" and on wrote in a Memorandum in his diary, 7th February 45: "Value of Grant: if I die or go to U.S.A., there must be a trained man to take care of the English O.T.O.".

Detailed History of the various O.T.O. groups and Plan 93 From Outer Space.

From whence did Crowley's authority derive?
In April, 1912, he was chartered Grandmaster (X°). Until 1914 and the outbreak of the War, only two lodges were operative in the United Kingdom: Crowley's and another headed by G.M Cowie who, like an L. Ron Hubbard, would later run off with the order's treasury. There can be no doubt, then, that Crowley remained supreme authority over the O.T.O. in England for the next several decades (although he was expelled from the O.T.O. by Theodor Reuss in 1921). Around 1945, Gerald Gardner, "our beloved Scire," the leader of many British witches, allegedly was chartered "to constitute a camp of the Ordo Templi Orientis, in the degree of Minerval," which document seemingly was signed by Crowley. (2*) Gardner, however, never found the time to run the camp, and it is said that this alone led to Germer's decision to allow Grant to work the first three degrees.

In July 1951, Karl Germer wrote to Frederic Mellinger, saying, "If [the Swiss Hermann Joseph] Metzger would have had access to all of A.C.'S works in the way Grant has had I'd be inclined to see him [as] a parallel case. However — like Grant — there seems to be a lack of money." (3*) On January 18, 1952, Germer wrote to Grant, "If we want to get the O.T.O. properly going again, we need a competent leader, not only for England but for the whole world. It must be somebody who knows the thing inside out ... I have often thought that you might be chosen for the job."

Karl Germer (Saturnus), Kenneth Grant (Aossic), Ordo Templi Orientis, O.T.O. system

On 3rd May, 1952 Karl Germer (Saturnus) wrote to Kenneth Grant (Aossic), saying: “Nor am I against the O.T.O. system, or the system of Degrees. Only, paradoxically, I have very little interest in it. I wish someone could take the whole work, and the responsibility for the burden which A.C. laid on my incompetent shoulders, off me! [...]. If we want to get the O.T.O. properly going again, we need a competent leader, not only for England but for the world. [...]. I have often thought that you might well be chosen for the job.”
[From: 'Noch Mehr Materialien Zum O.T.O.']

Germer himself refused to accept the duties of OHO since he believed that the Reuss O.T.O. had more authority than the Crowley O.T.O. (When the "spiritually founder" of the Order, Carl Kellner, a wealthy German industrialist and Mason, died in 1905, Theodore Reuss assumed leadership. His grant of authority to Crowley was limited to heading a subsidiary of the O.T.O. called the Mysteria Mystica Maxima.)

In the early 'Fifties, Grant established contact with the German order of Fraternitas Saturni. These were Thelemites who worked according to strictly Masonic principles. Grant, in 1955, announced in a manifesto his discovery of a Sirius/Set "current," and, in April of that year, founded the New Isis Lodge in London. On page 6 of the document, he named Eugen Grosche, an old adversary of Germer's, as an associate. This infuriated Germer, who took "violent exception" to the reference. (4*)

Grosche exacerbated the situation by publishing, in his own German magazine, a short version of Grant's manifesto. This so angered Germer that, on July 20, 1955, he penned a "Notification of Expulsion" that excommunicated Grant and forbade Grosche from publishing any Crowley writings. In England, a certain Noël Fitzgerald was appointed as Germer's "personal representative" in matters of the O.T.O. for Great Britain. (5*)

Karl Germer Kenneth Grant Notification of Expulsion 1955 Ordo Templi Orientis

Karl Germer Kenneth Grant Note of Expulsion 1955 Ordo Templi Orientis

Kenneth Grant to John Symonds — 9 March 1966 — Ordo Templi Orientis

[From: Materialien Zum O.T.O.]

During all of this time, a rival to Germer's authority oversaw a very successful "O.T.O." in Switzerland: Hermann J. Metzger, who seems to have been the thorn in the side of any OHO. He had a reputation for contentiousness that rivaled Marcelo Ramos Motta's, but Grant apparently managed to get along with him. Grant told me that during the 1950's he had "a pleasant correspondence with Herr Metzger." (6*)

One of Crowley's two literary executors, John Symonds, wrote to Gerald Yorke in September of 1969 that he fully supported Grant's claim to be be OHO. (This was hardly surprising: the two men had collaborated in the editing and annotating of several Crowley works, including an edition of the "autohagiography" and Magick, which latter is regarded as Crowley's masterpiece.) Motta, in October of the same year, ignorant of Germer's letter of expulsion, expressed a willingness to acknowledge Grant as OHO. (7*)

As late as 1976 the Grant members were writing in their magazine Sothis that "Karl J. Germer, having proved himself blind to the implication of Crowley's letter to him, failed to understand and accept when — soon after Crowley's death — Grant submitted his plans for change ... It remains to remind those who support the old-aeon concept of the O.T.O. (8*) that they have not produced — nor can they ever produce — the slightest evidence of a creative current in any of its forms."

It should not be forgotten that the current "Caliph" (which means head of the Californian Agape Lodge, although this term is nowhere explained exactly), once was privy to Grant's writings via the Canadian publishers of his magazines, or that Michael Paul Bertiaux, leader of the Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua, has let it be known that "I knew that K. Grant was the OHO." (9*)

Grant has the same right as anyone else to claim himself OHO. Had Germer not expelled him, this would simply be without peradventure, and as it is, he is the only claimant personally expelled by a predecessor. On the level of creativity, Grant, exploiting the ideas of the F.S., Frater Achad, and M.P. Bertiaux, is definitely one of the spiritual heads of the O.T.O.

It should be explained how a national head, or X° is either elected or appointed. Under Reuss there was an oath, a sort of Freemasonic ritual, with passwords, grips, and signs, and even a magic seal, carried out for the appointment of an X°. A question arises: Was Grant ever appointed head, or X° or does the highest-ranking member in a country automatically become X°? For that matter, if the expulsion of Grant by Germer cut the former off from a claim to be X°, did the mysterious Noël Fitzgerald assume that role at some point?

Kenneth Grant to John Symonds — 9 March 1966 — Ordo Templi Orientis

Annotations by James M. Martin

  1. Koenig adds: "Indeed, there is an enlarged/revised version of the O.T.O. system written by Crowley in the Warburg Institute in London." Meanwhile as facsimile in Koenig: "How to make your own McOTO"
  2. There is reason to believe that Gardner faked this Charter, as comparison of Gardner's and Crowley's handwriting shows
  3. In a letter to Martin, dated December 23, 1989, Grant spoke of a kind of "laying on of hands" in which Crowley passed the reins to him, in 1945, giving him a portrait of "Lam" as a seal of authority.
  4. Letter to Koenig, dated August 11, 1987.
  5. Such letters of appointment were the occult equivalent of a power of attorney. Germer's uneasiness may have shown in the addition of the words, "valid until revoked."
  6. Letter to Koenig, dated August 11, 1987.
  7. One suspects an ulterior motive Motta's part: Grant had unlimited, access to a wealth of unpublished Crowley correspondence and incunabula in the person of John Symonds, materials which the "Caliphate" O.T.O. had been unable to procure, Motta may have wanted to work out a U.S. publication agreement with Symonds. It is difficult for an American publisher to sue one in England.
  8. Fra. Achad, and, later, Andahanda (now Nema) established an Aeon of Horus and Ma'at, said to be a "double current." Grant is writing extensively about it
  9. Letter to Koenig

"Caliph" William Breeze about Kenneth Grant's O.T.O. and the relation to the "Caliphate": The "caliphate" O.T.O. is a myth. As a fair reading of the "caliphate letters" from Crowley to McMurtry will show, McMurtry was the second Caliph, and Germer the first. ... An ironic truth is that Grant, until his expulsion in 1955, was a bona fide member of the "caliphate" O.T.O. — under Germer."   [in: Abrasax IV;4, Texas 1992, 41]

James M. Martin, editor of Abrasax renounced most of his spiritual organizations years before his death in 2015, becoming a rather militant atheist of the standard variety and focusing on his family.
There's a set of his early diaries at the University of Southern California as part of the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/kt6b69r6ww/entire_text/

This article was scanned and converted to text by Stephen L***.
Homepage: Maps and Magick

Appendix March 2000
Kenneth Grant's own Key Dates

1904: Aiwass communicates the Book of the Law to Crowley in Cairo
1914: World War I
1915: Crowley attains Grade of Magus, first recording of Outer Ones from Yuggoth as cited in Wilgus' The Illuminoids
1924: Crowley claims Grade of Ipsissimus, Grant born
1926: Charles S. Jones (Achad, 1886-1950) receives the word of the Aeon (ALLALA = 93). The Call of Cthullu written by H.P. Lovecraft (Cthullu being Crowley's Tutulu of 1909?)
1939: WWII, first transmission of the outerhuman being S'lba received by Grant
1943: Grant 'receives' The Chronicles of Kr[alnia]
1944: Grant meets Crowley
1945: Atomic explosion. John W. Parsons meets L.Ron Hubbard
1946: Parsons' 'Babalon Working' (embodiment in human/quasi-human form of the spirit of Babalon) which causes Parsons to announce the transmission of a fourth chapter to Crowley's Liber AL. Grant initiated into the A.·. A.·. (Argenteum Astrum, Silver Star, Anuttara Amnaya), Grant's XI° confirmed
1947: Crowley dies. Beginning of the UFO age
1948: Achad announces the aeon of MA-ION (Maat). Grant recognised as IX° by Karl Germer. Grant meets Austin Osman Spare
1952: Spare and Grant found Zos Kia Cultus
1954: New Isis Lodge inaugurated, although not becoming operational until 1955
1955: Grant assumes the OHO after so-called 'expulsion' by Germer. New Isis Lodge enters into operation
1962: New Isis Lodge completed and reabsorbed into O.T.O., Germer dies
1969: Publication of Crowley's Confessions, co-edited with John Symonds: beginning of the thelemic re-vival worldwide
1972: First volume of Grant's books published
1974: Liber Pennae Praenumbra received by Sor.·.Nema

The Typhonian O.T.O. functions as a cosmic network which does not operate through terrestrially based lodges, because its members are not — in a magical sense — centred on earth. Their zones of occult activity are located in spaces which both include and transcend astral levels of consciousness. The Typhonian O.T.O. is not, therefore, a corporate body in a mundane sense — it is controlled by inner-plane contacts focused today through a handful of individuals channelling currents outside the circles of time and space. Regarding Thelema, the Typhonian O.T.O. is considered to be the Machine, the A.·. A.·. as the Operator.
There is no comparison to other O.T.O. versions, essentially because there are no group rituals or ceremonies of initiation at any stage of the degree structure. The basis of initiation is the assimilation of direct magical and mystical working. It follows that all initiation is in effect self-initiation. There is a small amount of set gradework in the Typhonian O.T.O. However, the emphasis is on the initiate charting his or her own course. There is of course the experience of others to draw upon.

Kenneth Grant died on 15th January 2011.

Read about Plan 93 From Outer Space
This is an outline from the German "Das OTO-Phaenomen" (1994) and the English "O.T.O. Rituals and Sexmagick" (1999)
Tradução portuguesa: Kenneth Grant e a O.T.O. Tifoniana

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